Education: Who wants the skin of private education?

A report that looks like an indictment. On Tuesday, April 2, MPs Paul Vannier (LFI-Nupes) and Christopher Weissberg (Renaissance) presented the results of their information mission on public financing of private education under the contract. Published after the recent controversies surrounding the education of Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castér’s children in Stanislas, the private Parisian institution also singled out in a report for “abnormality in the application of the association agreement”, this unworthy parliamentary work of Philippe Delorme.

“It is an incriminating report. We are in the reign of suspicion and slander. Mr. Vannier’s ultimate goal is really to abolish private contract education,” the general secretary of private Catholic education fumes. “This report doesn’t come out of nowhere,” added LR MP Annie Genevard. The Insoums have been holding the same discourse on private education for a very long time, the very existence of which they dispute. The terms used in this document are defamatory and are intended to bring the private school into disrepute. »

The two co-rapporteurs first condemn the opacity of public spending allocated to private institutions, for which, they say, it is impossible to “determine the amount to the nearest euro”. They remind that for the year 2022, the Department for Evaluation, Forecasting and Performance (Depp) estimates the total costs awarded to private institutions under the first and second stage contracts at 13.83 billion euros, including 8.5 billion paid by the state and 1.9 billion by local authorities . Funding provided by the Debré Law of 1959 in recognition of the contribution of these institutions to the mission of public services which also receive 3.3 billion euros from families and 159 million euros from companies and other private financiers.

75% of the financing of private institutions is covered by the state

Approximately 75% of the funding of private institutions is therefore covered by public authorities (it is 95% for public education). Figures which this report considers “probably underestimated”, but which do not state that a private student costs less than a public student, as Philippe Delorme insists.

Two MPs also point to the lack of transparency and political decisions in the allocation of subsidies to private facilities by local authorities. To remedy this, Paul Vannier recommends repealing the Falloux Act of 1850, which allows counties and municipalities to grant private schools an optional subsidy, limited to 10% of their annual costs.

Philippe Delorme sees in this measure “Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s obsession” which “will impoverish the institutions and therefore increase the contribution of the family and even more exclude the most humble, which is contrary to the goal pursued by Mr. Vannier”. Annie Genevard refutes this lack of transparency. “It is enough to examine local and territorial authorities whose accounts allow us to know the exact amount of funds they allocate for private education,” she suggests.

A report that generalizes some facts

Another observation recorded in this report: the inadequacy of budgetary and educational controls of private institutions which “makes excesses and diversions possible” and which, according to Paul Vannier, testifies to “a system out of control”.

“They treat us nothing more or less like frauds. This is the scandal of this report: it generalizes some facts about dysfunction, attacks Philippe Delorme. It is true that there is a lack of control by public authorities, but that is not our fault. We are fully prepared for these controls, we even demand them. This will allow us to see the reality of the numbers and to see that our institutions, far from rolling in gold, are in most cases in a fragile situation. »

The head of the private Catholic school also wants to emphasize “the transparency of the financial management of private institutions, since elected officials are invited to the boards of directors, and the accounts of large institutions are verified by an auditor.”

“Private institutions attract an increasing share of students from more favorable backgrounds”

But above all, two parliamentarians speak out against the deterioration of social and educational diversity within the private sector. “Private institutions attract an increasing share of students from more advanced backgrounds,” points out Paul Vannier. Representative LFI-Nupes therefore wants to introduce a penal system with the aim of reducing public funding of private schools where social segregation is greater than in public schools located in the same geographical area.

“The private sector is aware of its responsibility in this area and is making efforts,” assures Annie Genevard. A former teacher in public, the representative in Doubs still condemns the poor trial: “This observation stems from an essentially urban, and particularly Parisian, reading of the situation. This is intellectually dishonest. Private employment is mixed in our small and medium-sized cities because it is based on geographical proximity in areas where different populations live. »

Philippe Delorme certainly recognizes the increase in the average index of social positioning (IPS) in private institutions, but, he says, “this is explained on the one hand by the economic crisis and the financial difficulties of families, and on the other hand, “on the other hand, by the gentrification of the population in large urban centers whose real estate prices have jumped.” He says that he is ready to make the efforts he committed to last May by signing a protocol that foresees, first of all, a greater number of scholarship students, but also the adjustment of prices with regard to the parents’ income. “The principal will never reject a student because he comes from a social endangered environment or because he has a scholarship”, he points out. It is difficult for us today that these families do not come to us. »

“Collapse of state schools”

Among the 55 proposals in this report, of which only 27 were signed by two MPs, those of Paul Vannier are the most radical. The Mélenchonist deputy, however, denies that he wants to reignite the school war. “This system developed by Debré’s law is 65 years old, it was time to look at what works and what doesn’t,” he told JDD, acknowledging the “collapse of public schools.”

Wouldn’t a parliamentary mission dedicated to his recovery be more useful? “The public system is in complete collapse, the left is all the more embarrassed by this situation because it is partly responsible for it,” says RN deputy Roger Chudeau. More and more families prefer private education for many of the reasons that Mrs. Oudéa-Castéra explained: not replacing teachers, lack of discipline, constant tensions. There is also a lot of talk about the Islamist wave in public education with constant incidents and drama. To label private education as the main opponent of public education is to create the wrong opponent. »

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